Monday, July 6, 2009

Brain Overload!

So, fellow actors and performers...I'm sure you've all been here before during the preparation of a role:


It's a loosely defined term, tending to have different meanings and arrive at various stages of the process for each individual, but the general concept is the same.

It is the point in the preparation in which the performer's brain becomes saturated with lines, lyric, staging and choreography. Which lyric comes next? Do I cross downstage on his line or mine? Or was I supposed to cross upstage?

The level of Brain Overload is also directly related to the size and scope of a role being learned, I've found, and this is arbitrary depending upon the performer and the role. Sometimes, a larger role is much easier to learn than a walk-on cameo or featured role. It's all relative.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm reaching that point with my current role (see sidebar).

I think it is possibly more difficult for those of us who are performers "on the side" or as a hobby -- something extracurricular when we leave our day jobs. It's sometimes tough to compartmentalize all of the "theatre information" into a tickler file in your brain -- managing to keep it organized and all in there, yet still accessible whenever we need it. Though I can only imagine it's equally difficult for the professional performers, who are likely always working on more than one project at a time.

So, I'm curious. How do you handle Brain Overload? What are your tried and true methods of learning your lines and lyrics and making them "stick?" Do you just read them over and over? Do you write/type them out? Do you record them on a recorder/Mp3 player? What has worked and what has not worked for you?

I'm also curious to know which roles were the most difficult for you personally. Enlighten me!

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